Ghost Recon has gone ghost…Rainbow Six, deep-sixed?
Back in the day you could rely on three things: death, taxes, and annual instalment of Ubisoft’s ‘Tom Clancy Presents’ games such as Splinter Cell, Rainbow Six, and Ghost Recon. I guess when I use the term ‘back in the day’ I am specifically referring to the classic, G1 Xbox that we all knew and loved. Even when we transitioned into the next generation with the Xbox 360 it appeared that we were not going to ship a beat as we were treated to excellent next-gen Clancy titles. Quickly we had two Ghost Recon: Advanced Warfighters, two Rainbow Six: Vegas titles, and a Splinter Cell. That was then, the past four years there has been a dearth of Clancy games. What Happened? How did we get so far off the rails? I speculate as to the future of Clancy’s future soldiers.
And it is not that we have had no Clancy-verse games come our way in the intervening four years, it is just that the releases we have received have, in my opinion, been poor substitutes, and in fact, kicking the legs out of the other franchises:
End War – The biggest problem Tom Clancy has going is End War. Way to stunt the growth of your universe by putting a cap on it. End War basically draws a line in the sand for future growth of the core Clancy franchises by drawing a huge line in the sand. If all your efforts as a military machine are focused in a war to end all wars, covert teams like the Ghosts, Rainbow Six, or Third Echelon will be engaged in the war to end all wars. When I come to these games, I come for the intrigue, not global annihilation. The games we played prior have always been about the conflicts ‘15 minutes in the future’, early predicting world events at times. With End War, all the cards are on the table, so who cares what happens next. At the end of the day, End War flopped, and fans of the Tom Clancy’s universe have been suffering ever since. Perhaps a retcon is in order Ubisoft.
H.A.W.X. – The biggest support for End War’s timeline has been Tom Clancy’s newest and perhaps most promising franchise. H.A.W.X. is actually a really good aerial combat game. And set in the trappings of Tom Clancy’s gaming universe helps move units. We have even seen it’s follow up, H.A.W.X. 2 available in quick succession. What I found strange about H2 is that seemed to literally ‘fly under the radar’ and on to store shelves. To me it seemed like there was little excitement even from the publisher on this one, and in turn little interest from me. As I recall H1’s story line almost appeared to be about the conflicts leading into End War with a threat that was perhaps the lamest of all the TC games I have ever played leaving a bitter taste for this series for me. Also, I am more about the ground combat, fighter jets and aerial combat are just not my area of interest.
Tom Clancy, the MMO – Almost three years ago when Ubisoft purchased the rights for Tom Clancy name for huge dollars they made a big noise as to how it was to facilitate the way for a massive multiplayer online game (MMO) to which they were to develop. Well, three years have nearly passed and I am sure the world has forgot about Ubisoft’s bold vision, partly because not a word has been spoken since. But I have not forgotten. I suspect that a lot of money and resources have (or were) working behind the scenes on this, thus stunting the growth of our favourite core titles. Will we ever see the Tom Clancy MMO? I say “Not a chance!”.
It is not all completely gloom-and-doom though. After all we did receive the long-in-development Splinter Cell: Conviction in 2010. Splinter Cell was in my opinion one of the under-appreciated titles of 2010. Ubisoft pushed the envelope with gameplay and storytelling devices that made for a completely unique yet familiar Splinter Cell game. Also, the oft-delayed Ghost Recon: Future Soldier is due this year along with a beta as well. My biggest concern is the absence of Rainbow Six, which may be the big loser in this equation. I speculate that the rise of Call of Duty/Modern Warfare has been the single biggest thorn in the side of future Clancy games. It also appears that the new Ghost Recon will be incorporating the close-quarters combat that RB6 specialized in.
My wish for the future is a return to prominence or the Clancy games, to correct the mistakes of the recent past, and to channel their former greatness to once again become a player in the crowded FPS genre. I think this can happen. I suggest two things: A new Rainbow Six game, and to consider travelling to the past (80’s, 90’s) for new adventures with my favourite teams.